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Web conferencing technology in online courses: a 10-year perspective Robert Zotti Assistant Dean, WebCampus Stevens Institute of Technology

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Presentation on theme: "Web conferencing technology in online courses: a 10-year perspective Robert Zotti Assistant Dean, WebCampus Stevens Institute of Technology"— Presentation transcript:

1 Web conferencing technology in online courses: a 10-year perspective Robert Zotti Assistant Dean, WebCampus Stevens Institute of Technology rzotti@stevens.edu © 2014 by Robert Zotti

2 Agenda WebCampus at a Glance Web Conferencing at Stevens – The early years (2003-2008) – The breakout years (2009-2013) – Another migration (2013 and beyond) Perspectives from 10 years of supporting web conferencing as a component of online graduate education © 2014 by Robert Zotti

3 WebCampus Operations at Stevens Began in 2000 with 2 online courses By 2011 grew to approximately 130 online classes delivered each term – Engineering – Management – Computer Science Accounts for 20- 25% of graduate enrollments Fall 2013 Enrollment Map

4 Enrollment Map Fall 2013 - Tristate Region Blue Line Denotes 60-Minute Drive Zone 48% of Enrollments are outside Blue Line This has remained within +/- 3% since we began tracking 6 years ago! © 2014 by Robert Zotti

5 List of WebCampus Programs 20 Masters Degrees… …plus 60 related Graduate Certificates © 2014 by Robert Zotti

6 Top 50 Most-Subscribed WebCampus Classes Spring 2007 thru Spring 2014 Accounting Statistics Marketing Finance Project Mgmt Project Leadership Tech & Inn ovation Mgmt Strategic Project Mgmt Advanced Project Mgmt Project AnalyticsStrategic Management Org Behavior & Design Discovering Entrep. Activities © 2014 by Robert Zotti

7 Web Conferencing at Stevens

8 Before Web Conferencing… 2000-2003 2004 Interaction in online courses based on discussion posts and email Worked well initially (online classes still new) Some instructors looking for richer interaction options Students begin asking for more interaction with professors, classmates “I think the Professor should participate in the class discussions more and provide more guidance to the class” – student feedback © 2014 by Robert Zotti

9 Student Feedback (2004) I must be frank and say that I am very disappointed with the WebCampus program. There has been no effort to leverage technology to make this learning experience more effective such as video on demand, live blackboards, etc. Are there any plans to upgrade the WebCampus program to take advantage of the technologies available today? As Stevens is a technology institution I would expect that Stevens would be leading in this area; not behind. The course that I am taking now is nothing more than "read chapters x-x", "do problems x-x" posted on a static web page. There is little to no interaction with the rest of the class and the professor. © 2014 by Robert Zotti

10 Web Conferencing at Stevens The Early Years 2004 2005 2005-2008 Number of instructors using Interwise: 17 Pilot group (3 instructors, 1 staff member) test 3 web conferencing systems. Interwise Connect system chosen for implementation Initial license: 25 concurrent seats Interwise license increased to 50 concurrent users, then 100 Number of instructors using Interwise for 2 or more classes: 5 Interwise purchased by AT&T © 2014 by Robert Zotti

11 Early Usage 2004 - 2005 Number of users Number of real-time events © 2014 by Robert Zotti

12 Initial Reaction Small group of instructors loved it Others interested, but don’t use it “The missing piece” that some needed (Financial Engineering, Telecom Mgmt) Quickly used in a variety of roles Team assignments Orientation Week calls Online open houses Time/learning curve concerns Real-time events didn’t fit with original notion of online courses Real-time events didn’t fit the character of some courses © 2014 by Robert Zotti

13 2005 Usage (Fall term – 90 online courses) © 2014 by Robert Zotti

14 Student Feedback “I must say that the audio lectures are amazing. Its like being in class with you” “I showed it to a few colleagues of mine and they were AMAZED. It changed their idea of what a webcourse should be like” “I felt I received all the benefits of being in a classroom….This is definitely a good tool” “I've personally taken two in-class courses with you, and this web course (via web conferencing) is as good as being in class with you” © 2014 by Robert Zotti

15 2006 Usage (Fall term – 107 online courses) conducted) © 2014 by Robert Zotti

16 2007 Usage (Fall term – 139 online courses conducted) Note: Five out of the six online Financial Engineering classes used web conferencing this term © 2014 by Robert Zotti

17 Problems with Interwise/ATT Connect Maintenance blackout periods – Every Friday from 6PM-9PM No auto cut-off for phone bridge users – The 700-minute phone call Not compatible with MAC computers Not compatible with Firefox © 2014 by Robert Zotti

18 Problems with Interwise/ATT Connect Lacked a good integration with WebCT – Extensive manual intervention needed to maintain user directory Making recordings could get cumbersome Extensive faculty training required – Slow adoption “Concurrent seat” license turned out to be expensive © 2014 by Robert Zotti

19 2008 Usage (Fall Term – 151 online courses conducted) © 2014 by Robert Zotti

20 Fall 2008 Faculty Survey Feedback (n=77) © 2014 by Robert Zotti

21 The Breakout Years 2008 2009 2010-2013 Usage of web conferencing on the rise across campus – Online open houses, staff meetings, special guest lectures AT&T buys Interwise The search begins for a new web conferencing system Stevens evaluates WebEx, Adobe Connect, Wimba, Elluminate, Citrix, and AT& T Web conferencing growth continues; application broadly recognized as a strategic, even if not universally utilized © 2014 by Robert Zotti

22 The 2009 Migration: Evaluation Team Consensus Close competition between Wimba and Elluminate Adobe probably the most sophisticated but also the most complex WebEx is a robust market leader, but it did not integrate well with WebCT Wimba-Pronto instant messenger application impressed all those who tested it Instructors who piloted Wimba in Summer term classes gave it high marks for user-friendliness Stevens implements Wimba Classroom © 2014 by Robert Zotti

23 The 2009 Migration: Faculty Feedback “Two teams in my summer class used Wimba and it helped them a lot.” - Instructor, MGT671 “Video works better (in Wimba than Interwise); polling is really simple.” – Instructor, MIS750 “Wimba impressed me with extreme flexibility (breakout rooms, Pronto…); from a pure user point of view, Wimba would be my choice. – Instructor, SYS625 “Pronto is a powerful feature. Elluminate has nothing like it.” – Instructor, SYS650 “The (Wimba) interface seems nice and user friendly. I like the browser compatibility, too.” - Instructor, MGT609 © 2014 by Robert Zotti

24 2009 Usage (Fall Term – 159 online courses conducted) © 2014 by Robert Zotti

25 2010 Usage (Fall Term – 160 online courses conducted) © 2014 by Robert Zotti

26 2011 Usage (Fall Term – 155 online courses conducted) © 2014 by Robert Zotti

27 2012 Usage (Fall Term – 140 online courses conducted) © 2014 by Robert Zotti

28 Advantages of Wimba Classroom Very good value for the expense No maintenance blackout periods Phone bridge utilized a local number – No more runaway costs from 1-800 number Compatible with MAC computers, more browsers and operating systems © 2014 by Robert Zotti

29 Advantages of Wimba Classroom Seamless integration with WebCT – No more manual intervention needed to maintain user directory Running and recording webinars was simple – Recordings could be downloaded as MP4s Faculty training not as difficult – Many instructors already used to running webinars © 2014 by Robert Zotti

30 The costs of web conferencing Three basic vendor pricing models –Price per concurrent (real-time) seat Easiest to understand and manage Most expensive, particularly when scaling up –Price per named host (instructor/moderator) More economical than concurrent seat model, particularly when scaling up Capacity planning not as intuitive –Price package based on enrollment of school Simple model based on size of operations –Similar to TurnItIn license Notes: Most vendors use a combination of models; Some vendors charge many set-up fees © 2014 by Robert Zotti

31 Problems with Wimba Classroom JAVA updates sometimes caused problems Browser updates sometimes caused problems Vendor support suffered (particularly after acquisition by Blackboard) Downloading recordings was time-consuming Does not officially support Google Chrome Does not render PowerPoint animations Does not share video content well © 2014 by Robert Zotti

32 Wimba Problem Log (2011-2012) © 2014 by Robert Zotti

33 2010 Blackboard purchases Wimba – … and Elluminate and Moodle Rooms…. The search begins for a new web conferencing system Stevens announces the decision to migrate to Blackboard Collaborate; Wimba and Blackboard running concurrently to allow orderly transition 2013 2012 Stevens evaluates WebEx, Adobe Connect, Blackboard Collaborate, Jigsaw, Skype, and AT&T “Sandbox testing” continues for four months 2010 – 2013: Leveling Off and 2 nd Migration

34 2013 Usage (Fall Term – 125 online courses conducted) Blackboard 29 Wimba 29 Both: 7 © 2014 by Robert Zotti

35 Questions to Ponder (HINT: This is the topic of my PhD Project) Why do some online course participants embrace the use of web conferencing technology while others do not? What are the drivers and inhibitors of the use of web conferencing technology at the student, instructor, course, academic program, and organizational levels? How often is web conferencing technology used in different kinds of online courses? How can schools best institutionalize the use of web conferencing technology? © 2014 by Robert Zotti

36 So Who is Using it, Who is Not? Department Fall 2013 online sections Sections using web conf PctComments Management 362878% Consistently high pct Electrical Engineering 2500% Consistently low or none Systems Engineering 13 100% Consistently the highest pct Computer Science 1318% Varies by semester Financial Engineering 87 88% Consistently high pct. Pharmaceutical Mfg 121 8% Varies by semester Engineering Management 6467% Consistently high pct Software Engineering 5240% Varies by semester Other 7343% Varies by semester Fall 2013 Snapshot by Program/Department © 2014 by Robert Zotti

37 Survey Excerpts For courses where web conferencing was (and for those where it was not….) – Questions for Instructors – Questions for Students Questions for IT/Online Learning Administration © 2014 by Robert Zotti

38 Survey Questions Generic data – all classes Instructor SurveyStudent Survey How many classes have you taught online previously How many classes have you taken online previously? What class did you teach online last term? What class did you take online last term? Have you ever used web conferencing in your online course? © 2014 by Robert Zotti

39 Survey Questions for classes which used web conferencing … (Note: Items on a 5-point Likert Scale (5=Strongly Agree… 1=Strongly Disagree) Instructor QuestionsStudent Questions How many web conferencing events per semester do you conduct? What % of web conferencing events do you attend in your class? The interaction between students is a major part of the course. I enjoy interacting with my online classmates. I was able to communicate with my students effectively using web conferencing applications. I was able to communicate with my instructor effectively using web conferencing applications It was easier to answer questions using web conferencing than with discussion boards. It was easier to ask questions using web conferencing than with discussion boards. I would recommend the use the web conferencing tools in other classes. © 2014 by Robert Zotti

40 Survey Questions for classes which did NOT use web conferencing … (Note: Items on a 5-point Likert Scale (5=Strongly Agree… 1=Strongly Disagree) Instructor QuestionStudent Question Have you ever used web conferencing in your online course? The use of web conferencing tools is not suited to the class I teach online. The use of web conferencing tools is not suited to the class I took online. I am satisfied with teaching methods that do NOT include real-time web conferencing events. I am satisfied with online classes that do NOT include real-time web conferencing events. I have limited time available for learning web conferencing applications. My schedule makes it difficult to conduct real-time web conferencing events. My schedule makes it difficult to attend real- time web conferencing events. I was able to communicate with my students effectively without using web conferencing applications. I was able to communicate with my instructor effectively without using real-time web conferencing applications. It was easier to interact with students using discussion boards than it would have been using web conferencing. It was easier to interact with the instructor using discussion boards than it would have been using web conferencing.

41 Interaction Alignment Model How many opportunities do online students have to interact in real- time? – More than needed? – Less than needed? – Just right? © 2014 by Robert Zotti

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